Someone has stated, “Pity the man whose never had to trust God or die.”
An ancient legend tells of a man who had become lost in the desert. He wandered around for days in the hot, burning sand. During the day, the sun scorched him unmercifully, the wind blew sand in his nose, ears, and mouth, and the cold of the night added to his misery. He slowly grew weaker and discouraged, as death seemed inevitable.
Then, miraculously, he thought he saw an oasis. He wondered if it was real or just a mirage. As he desperately stumbled forward, then crawling toward the palms and the possibility of water, he was filled with hope. The oasis was real! Finally, at last, he would find some relief from his suffering.
As he viewed the oasis, however, he suddenly realized that something was different about this one. There was no pool of water, no bubbling spring. All he discovered was an old-fashioned hand pump, and, next to it, two objects: a handwritten note on a piece of parchment, and a small, tightly-sealed jar of water.
The message on the parchment was that there was a leather gasket within the pump which had to be thoroughly saturated with water before the pump would work. Within the jar was just enough water to accomplish this purpose. The note encouraged the reader not to give in to his sense of thirst, and drink the water from the jar. To do so would result in death! Every drop must be wisely utilized to soak the heat-dried gasket. Then, as the leather of the gasket softened and expanded, an unlimited supply of cool, refreshing, life-giving water would be available to him. The final instruction on the parchment was to refill the jar with water so the next traveler, arriving at the oasis, could also pump the well-water.
The weary man was faced with a dilemma. Just how trusting should he be? If he poured out the water onto the gasket, would he be pouring out the very means of his own survival? But then, what if the parchment was right? By not holding on desperately to what he had, and by sacrificing it in faith, he could potentially receive a far greater supply! What should he do?
The story ends here. You see, the question is really one posed to all of us. How much faith do we have in the ancient parchments (Scriptures)? How willing are we to trust the message of God’s Word?
“According to the Holy Scriptures, human extremity is the frequent meeting place with God” (Dale Bruner).
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey , Florida 34654